February 22, 2023

A bill codifying School-Based Health Centers heads to Senate floor

The New Mexico State Capitol, or Roundhouse Wikicommons.

A bill that would codify School-Based Health Centers passed  theSenate Health and Public Affairs Committee on a 6-1 party vote on Wednesday.

SB 397, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, would codify into law School-Based Health Centers, which have been providing primary and behavioral health care to children in New Mexico for 25 years.

State Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, asked how School-Based Health Centers help the LGBTQ community. Nancy Rodriguez, executive director of the Alliance of School-Based Health Centers (no relation to state Sen. Rodriguez) said that what services each School-Based Health Center provides depends on the school district, but she said they all provide primary and behavioral health.

“They have a safe space through the PED and provide individual counseling,” the executive director said. “The suicide ideality rate is very high [for LGBTQ individuals]. School-Based Health Centers take that very seriously and supply behavioral health to that community.”

The bill heads to the Senate floor next.